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  1. Default ohio to washington state and back

    looking for any input...

    I am heading to Washington from Cleveland, looking to do a little climbing, skiing, mountain biking, generally a big play trip. My plan is as follows:

    June 30, 12 hours to mid minnesota
    July 1, 8 hours to Sturgis
    July 2, to Bozeman, about 9 hours. Stay in Bozeman area for 2-3 days to sample the trout fishing and mountain biking
    July 6, 9 hours to Portland to see sister in law and to Hood River to stay
    July 9-15 into Washington State to climb

    July 15 - meet wife in Portland
    July 17 Portland to Alta, Wyoming, 12 hours
    July 18, 19, yellowstone visit
    July 20, travel to South Dakota ( Badlands), 9 hours
    July 21, visit badlands
    July 22, 23 travel back to Cleveland

    I know it is a lot, so any information, suggestions would be welcome.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Virtual vs True Reality

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    The good news is that you have enough time in your overall plan to overcome the bad news. The bad news is that you have clearly taken your time estimates from mapping software and they are highly unrealistic. For example, Cleveland to Sturgis is just about 1300 miles. You've allotted just 20 hours over 2 days to make the drive. The mapping routine has assumed that you can drive 65 mph for every minute of every hour you've set aside over both days. It has made no allowance for traffic, gas, rest, or food stops. Somewhat counterintuitive but much more realistic is the rule of thumb we use around here of a 55 mph average over a day's driving (a couple of mph slower in the east, a couple of mph faster in the west). But Cleveland to Sturgis is going to take more like 23-24 hours rather than 20. Similarly, Portland to Alta is almost 790 miles, which is considerably more miles in a day than even professional drivers are comfortable with. Any time you see a day's total mileage creeping north of 600, you've got to ask yourself if you really know what you're getting yourself into. Other than that, I like the basic outline of your trip. But I think you are going to have to 'borrow' a couple of days from Bozeman and Washington to make the driving tasks realistic and survivable.


  3. #3

    Default my 2 cents

    In my opinion Cleveland to Sturgis in 20 hours over two days is doable. I used to live with my parents in the southern black hills of South Dakota we drove every year back and forth to Ohio took 24 hours spread over two days. That was when speed limits were 55. Now every state west of Ohio has speed limits over 65. Made the trip back to my hometown of Hot springs from Columbus, last year in 20 hours flat. Beyond that your trip seems to be within reason. That being said however there are things to consider. One is mountain driving and the effect climbing mountains has on your drive times. Two-day time driving vs. nighttime driving. Daytime driving will take longer due to traffic conditions, which adds to driver fatigue. A long straight stretch in the daytime where eye scanning becomes less vital also contributes to driver fatigue. Myself Iím a night owl and love driving at night. However night driving has its own dangers. One is wildlife out west is more active at night due to daytime heat conditions. Two is drunk drivers granted traffic is few and far between, which only raises the chance that the on coming car has a drunk person behind the wheel. The Best advice I ever received for night driving was from a highway patrol man "limit the amount of time you drive in the passing lane to only passing other vehicles". Drunk people behind the wheel that are driving on the wrong side of the highway will travel in the passing lane thinking it is a two-lane road. Best advice for any road trip is know yourself know the conditions you are most comfortable with and never push yourself past your physical limits. As far as your trip plan, it seems to be within reason and you should have a very good time on it. My wife, son, mom, and myself will be hitting the road Saturday afternoon. On our latest trip that will be taking my mom back from Columbus OH to where I grew up Hot Springs SD. Then on to Cody WY and Yellowstone for some hiking, fishing, horseback riding, picture taking and some much needed relaxation. Then itís back to the good old black hills. After that we get snapped back into the reality of Ohio. Enjoy your road trip and the many memories you will make along the way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Here's my take

    Cleveland to Sturgis is 1292 miles. 1292/65mph=19.88 hours. So, yeah, you could do it in 20 hours if you don't stop at all and/or speed a lot of the way.

    Sturgis to Bozeman is 487 miles. 487/65mph=7.5 hours. So the 9 hours you have planned for this leg is very do-able with a few brief stops along the way.

    Bozeman to Portland is 753 miles. 753/65mph=11.58 hours. So I think the 9 hour estimate might not be very accurate.

    Portland to Alta is 786 miles. 786/65mph=12.09 hours. So, here, your 12 hour estimate is very good and allows time for a few stops along the way.

    Alta to Badlands is 638 miles. 638/65mph=9.82 hours. So your 9 hour estimate is pretty close here.

    Remember, all these estimates don't have any stops for gas, food, scenic viewpoints, stretching, restroom, etc. factored in.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Default Why not enjoy the Black Hills?


    Good luck on your trip. Cleveland to Sturgus in 20 is very doable. I just moved from Columbus to Siouc Falls, SD five months ago and have made the round trip a half dozen times. It's 13-16 hours to Sioux Falls depending on traffic, the number of stops and your route; and then another 5 to Sturgis. Your biggest problem is going to be Chicago; you will get tied up there for a couple of hours regardless of whether you try and drive through or around; and while its better during the off-peak hours, the improvement is marginal at best. Once past Chicago you will be able to make up time through WI, MN and SD as the average speed across each is 75-80 mph. However, it always takes me 15 hours driving through Chicago. I shave time taking a more southern route that parallels I-76 and I-80 through Indiana and Iowa, but that is really not an option for you.

    Consider this... ferries run across Lake Michigan from Muskegon to Milwaukee three times a day. It should take you between 6 and 6.5 hours to hit Muskegon from where you are (they drive fast through Michigan), then 2.5 across the lake, then your on on I-94 heading west to I-90. Another 5.5 hours and you're in Albert Lee, MN. Sure you lose the 2.5 hours, but you avoid the hastles of Chicago and get a 2.5 hour breather. When in Albert Lee check out Hormel's Spam museum!

    When you hit Stirgis, consider checking the area out if you have never been before. Spearfish canyon is absolutely beautiful and the black hills are worthy areas for hicking and fishing as well. Deadwood is around the corner, as is Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain. Then, if you have a spare 30 minutes on your continued jouney westward, take the back road from Stirgis to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. It's the first National Monument in the US and a pretty neat site. Afterwards, you can get back on I-90 and travel west.

    Just remember that out west the "back roads" often travel as fast as the Interstates and are much more scenic and interesting. As a reference, check out a map and plot a drive from Sioux Falls, SD to the capitol in Pierre. State Route 34 is a two lane road that runs parellel to I-90, but it travels only about 15-20 minutes slower because of the increased trafic on the Interstate and the construction.

    Whatever route you take, enjoy. It's great country out here and completely different from Ohio.



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